China’s lawmakers endorse state leaders, government reform

March 15th, 2008 - 2:48 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, March 15 (DPA) China’s parliament Saturday endorsed plans by the ruling Communist party to restructure government ministries and approved party leader Hu Jintao’s second five-year term as state president. In a single-candidate election of leaders recommended by the party, some 3,000 members of the National People’s Congress also elevated Hu’s heir-apparent, 54-year-old Xi Jinping, to the vice presidency.

The restructuring plan creates five “superministries” and gives a higher profile to environmental protection and energy saving.

The large new ministries will be responsible for environmental protection, transportation, housing and construction, industry and information, and human resources and social security.

On Sunday, the parliament is scheduled to approve Li Keqiang as the most senior of three vice premiers and support another five-year term for Premier Wen Jiabao.

Xi and Li are expected to replace Hu and Wen, respectively, when they face mandatory retirement from the party leadership at its next congress in 2012.

The elevation of Xi and Li in the state leadership is a routine move following their promotion in the party hierarchy at the five-yearly party congress in October.

Both Xi and Li were promoted to the nine-member Standing Committee of the party’s Politburo, which makes all major policy decisions in China.

The lawmakers also approved Hu’s continuation in his post of chairman of the state’s Central Military Commission Saturday, following his re-election to the similar party post in October.

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